President’s Message - Moving Forward on All Fronts

2016 - 4 August- Clinical Controversies Highlighted at the 45th Critical Care Congress
Todd Dorman, MD, FCCM
In this article, Society President Todd Dorman, MD, FCCM, provides an update on Society activities.

There are many exciting activities in which the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) is presently engaged. I thought I would share a few of these activities with you.

The Society continues to partner with the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM) on a host of sepsis-related activities under the auspices of the Surviving Sepsis Campaign. The adult guideline task force is completing its work on an updated guideline that we hope will be ready for publication no later than Congress 2017. We have just named the co-chairs and co-vice-chairs of a new pediatric guideline task force that will start its work this year. The project on sepsis in low-resource countries started collecting baseline data in March. Moving forward, concurrent data will be collected by research assistants at Gitwe Hospital in Rwanda. The intervention phase began in July.

On a related topic, the sepsis definitions paper has attracted a lot of attention. As of this writing, it has more than 1 million views. The authors are responding to letters to the editors or to opinion pieces that appear in other journals, and the Society partnered with ESICM in response to some of the letters as well. We all look forward to additional data in this field. The attention being paid to sepsis will surely help advance the field. This attention is wonderful to see; it should contribute to advancing the understanding of the disease and the care of patients and families.

The Sepsis on the Wards project is submitting papers for publication as we look to impact sepsis wherever it exists. SCCM leadership is meeting this fall with the American College of Emergency Physicians leadership to explore areas in which to collaborate; certainly sepsis will be on the table for discussion. Importantly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is very interested in sepsis, and we are entertaining a variety of partnered projects with them.

The project is entering its second year. This will be an important year as we start to utilize lessons learned in the first year to create greater impact. A second cohort of sites was identified and will join with the first cohort in understanding the needs of the post-intensive care community. A recent publication in the nursing literature penned by our committee is drawing attention for its content. It describes many of the lessons learned to date and offers suggestions on how to improve as we move forward. It seems that a major issue the teams have encountered early on is that many of the patients and families do not see themselves as survivors of critical illness, but as survivors of some other disease or process. Once they get together and discuss their experiences, they then recognize that they are indeed survivors of critical illness. Clearly, we need to continue to learn from these brave early participants and create feedback loops into our daily practices.

Critical Care Societies Collaborative
The Critical Care Societies Collaborative (CCSC) paper on burnout was recently published in the respective journals of the CCSC members. It was accompanied by an editorial that supported the field in very important ways. At its July meeting, CCSC discussed burnout becoming a strategic focus for the collaborative. This topic is picking up a lot of steam across the healthcare field as more people realize that we must take care of our teams so that they can take care of others. I have even heard that the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (formerly known as the Institute of Medicine) may also take on this important topic.

American Bar Association
SCCM and the Society of Hospital Medicine were approached by the American Bar Association (ABA) regarding a collaboration on healthcare decision-making for patients who cannot speak for themselves. Funded by the Retirement Research Foundation, the initial work will use a survey to assess self-reported understandings of local and state laws and policies and will also attempt to collect said policies for comparison. This is a very important first step in understanding the current landscape. The goal is to identify areas for and action steps for improvement. Ultimately, we hope this may lead to additional projects with the ABA.

President’s Travel
I was fortunate and honored to travel to India and Japan immediately before Congress 2016. Their national meetings are very well attended; the enthusiasm of the audience clearly demonstrates the growth potential for our specialty. I joined the Panamanian Critical Care Society for their ninth annual meeting, which included a cruise. Importantly, it also included a signing of an agreement for Fundamental Critical Care Support (FCCS) to be offered to all students at a medical school in Panama; passing will be a condition of advancement. I am certain that other schools will see the benefit of training all students to recognize critical illness and to have the core skills at initiating support.

I attended the Chinese Society of Critical Care Medicine meeting in Zhengzhou, China and visited two other cities and three intensive care units (ICUs) there. The ICUs I have visited so far are all extremely welcoming and, as the famous saying goes, “If you’ve seen one ICU, you’ve seen one ICU”. Despite the difference, what is common is the passion for helping the critically ill and injured and their families. This is indeed universal!

SCCM is considering new and innovative membership opportunities. The Membership Committee is working diligently with staff to review a large amount of material and data. In addition, the committee is also working on a review of our diversity efforts. Both of these projects are extremely important for the Society. We are very much looking forward to their reports.

So, as you can see, lots of things are happening at SCCM! I hope to see you in Hawaii for Congress 2017.